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Gait Posture. 2013 Mar;37(3):445-51. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2012.09.007. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

Foot type biomechanics part 1: structure and function of the asymptomatic foot.

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Leon Root M.D. Motion Analysis Laboratory, Hospital for Special Surgery, 535 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021, United States.



Differences in foot structure are thought to be associated with differences in foot function during movement. Many foot pathologies are of a biomechanical nature and often associated with foot type. Fundamental to the understanding of foot pathomechanics is the question: do different foot types have distinctly different structure and function?


To determine if objective measures of foot structure and function differ between planus, rectus and cavus foot types in asymptomatic individuals.


Sixty-one asymptomatic healthy adults between 18 and 77 years old, that had the same foot type bilaterally (44 planus feet, 54 rectus feet, and 24 cavus feet), were recruited. Structural and functional measurements were taken using custom equipment, an emed-x plantar pressure measuring device, a GaitMat II gait pattern measurement system, and a goniometer. Generalized Estimation Equation modeling was employed to determine if each dependent variable of foot structure and function was significantly different across foot type while accounting for potential dependencies between sides. Post hoc testing was performed to assess pair wise comparisons.


Several measures of foot structure (malleolar valgus index and arch height index) were significantly different between foot types. Gait pattern parameters were invariant across foot types. Peak pressure, maximum force, pressure-time-integral, force-time-integral and contact area were significantly different in several medial forefoot and arch locations between foot types. Planus feet exhibited significantly different center of pressure excursion indices compared to rectus and cavus feet.


Planus, rectus and cavus feet exhibited significantly different measures of foot structure and function.

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